Watermelon field day: Too wet or too dry?

By Peter Hull

slliced watermelonOver watering is just as stressful on plants or vegetables as under watering. To understand the correct water usage, it’s vital to understand soil types and when the stress levels occur. Go beyond that threshold and a grower likely will lose production.

Extension area vegetable specialist Gilbert Miller is working to understand a fundamental dilemma for growers: the fine line between over watering and allowing the soil to get too dry.

Miller uses in-ground sensors to help determine the causes of hollow heart, a condition that makes melons unmarketable. His research also helps growers control costs and produce higher quality crops by saving fertilizer and water.

“These sensors provide a window into the soil,” Miller said. He demonstrated his research in July during the Watermelon and Vegetable Field Day at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville. The free event was attended by more than 150 growers.